Agenda item

Update on Air Quality

To consider the attached report.

Minutes:

6.1       The Chair invited Sophia Beglinger, Climate Change and Air Quality Officer, to introduce this item. Members noted the following points:

 

·         The DEFRA Air Quality grant project involved the use of e-cargo bikes by an organisation that had operations across Cheltenham and Gloucester, which included air quality management areas (AQMAs). £40,000 had been requested and the NHS were engaged as an interested partner.

·         The Air Quality monitoring webpage was being developed to provide accessible data on air quality monitoring. The team would continue to look into what else could be presented on this webpage including particulate matter data for example.

·         The report also gave a summary of the outcomes from the Air Quality Workshop held in October 2022. The key points were listed at point 12 and further detail provided at Annex 2 of the report.

·         The Air Quality District Grant would seek to offer funding opportunities to assist district with monitoring equipment and studies. The detail of the grant was still being agreed but officers hoped to have this ready as soon as possible.

·         In summary, GCC had made progress with projects seeking to improve air quality for the county.

 

6.2       A member highlighted that in July 2010, Lydney was afforded an AQM status and with this, the Forest of Dean District Council received a £44,000 grant from DEFRA to help address the issue. Since then, however, the town had grown substantially and the traffic issues in Lydney town (the centre of the AQM area) had only become worse. Noting paragraph 16 in the report, whilst the member welcomed research into a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) for air quality, local planners had not taken much if any note of the AQM status back in 2010 and therefore felt an SPD would have a similar impact. Another member added that SPDs often involved a huge amount of resource and resulted in limited impact, suggesting it would be better for local authorities to work together and look at a policy during local plan development that was enforceable.

 

6.3       It was advised that there would be a ‘two-pronged’ approach in terms of planning. The SPD would be produced and would be a material consideration on planning application determination once agreed. In addition, during the development of local plans for the district councils, GCC would carry out its role as a statutory consultee to the local plans and ensure all relevant aspects of its roles and responsibilities were reflect in those documents. The team responsible would liaise with all relevant departments at GCC, including the air quality team, and ensure comments on these aspects were fed back to the district for their plan development.

 

6.4       A member stated that it would be useful to have geographical maps for members detailing areas of air quality hot spots and management areas.

 

ACTION:       Sophia Beglinger

 

6.5       The Chair shared an example of a local project with Berkeley Green students to programme low-cost air quality monitors, which were then hoped to be rolled out across the district. As a similar project had been mentioned in this report, the Chair urged officers to ensure they were liaising with Stroud on which monitors would be used. It was added that officers were exploring the use of Power BI by Microsoft to map the monitors, collate and analyse the raw data.

 

 

Supporting documents: